As writers seeking publication, either traditional or self-publication road, how we behave on public forums does play on our marketability. Let’s face it, published writers are public figures, maybe not as famous as some big-name movie star, but our fans still want to know more about us. If we behave badly on social media, that could be very bad for our careers. And don’t think that if you did something years ago that it’ll be buried forever. The ugly-nasty has a bad habit of turning up when you least expect it. Always play nice on social media.
Over a year ago, I jokingly reported about some of the flavours of the Rush-The-Process dish. I’m talking about those scenarios where writers are in such a hurry to submit their work for publications that they skip vital steps in the editing or publication process.
In that post, I spoke about the ones who only have family and friends looking at their work, not other writers or editors. I spoke about the ones who take editorial reports and stick to the most basic of rewrites. Then there are those who submit to agents and publishers unfinished works, only to go into full panic mode when they get the request for fulls. And my personal favourite: upload to Amazon without editing at all, because they supposedly can’t afford it.
But there are some other flavours to this Rush-The-Process dish that also requires some attention.
With the introduction of Facebook and Twitter Live, it’s not surprising that many are now turning to vlogging (video blogging) in a rudimentary way. However, before you make any recording, it’s important to have an idea as to what you intend to record. Where possible, script your videos. Rambling can make you seem scatterbrained and unable to structure thoughts into a coherent form. For the sake of your reputation, make a few dummy recordings as practice, before you use the Live features.
Common advice, but one that is so tempting to NOT follow. Let’s face it, the nasties on social media do, at times, go for the jugular and start making personal attacks. It’s natural to want to get in there and defend yourself, or your friends. But you can’t. No matter how much you want to lash back, you need to find a way to brush it off, even if that means ranting to a close friend somewhere off of public platforms. However, do keep in mind that there is a BIG difference between public debate and feeding trolls.
Put your hand up if you have found yourself becoming a shutter-bug. Be honest.
With the latest phones, many of us now have a high-resolution camera sitting in our back pockets (or in my case, the outside pocket of my purse). So, it’s not surprising that people have become trigger happy with their phone cameras. Add in the fact that smartphones have easy access to the internet, and those photos are now being showcased for the world to see.
Before you hit the share button, you might want to take a good look at that photo.
One of the ways to connect with others on Facebook, or any social media, is to share tidbits of information. However, it looks bad when you come across a post that says Attachment Unavailable. This happens when you share a post that was marked as private or restricted to Friends. This will likely be the case if the shared post is sourced from someone’s private feed. Always try to go to the original source of information — share the post from the website or public page it came from.
For writers like me who enjoy the community on Twitter so much, it can be easy to forget that a writer’s platform consists of more than just Twitter. It’s everything that can be found online and offline about you and your books. On-line presence might consist of Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon author’s page, website, blog, Instagram, and the list goes on. An offline platform might include radio interviews, conference appearances, workshops, newspaper articles and even your local writers’ group memberships.
In this day and age, many submissions are handled through email. Agents and acquisition editors will often look at the submissions sent to them on an electronic device, commonly a computer or tablet screen. For many submissions, the initial contact is contained in the body of an email (no attachments). However, if they ask for added materials, they expect things in the standard submission format. Yet, agents and editors will still often look at those submission materials using electronic devices.
So, if everything is now through electronic submissions, why must we format our manuscripts using a format that was devised back in the day when everything was printed? Well, believe it or not, the standard manuscript format is very specific for a reason.
It is vital to give readers of your blog a way in which they can follow your blog, receiving announcements via email. It is also vital that you make it easy for your readers to find the subscription tools. This site has subscription options on the sidebar, but if you don’t have sidebars on your own site, then put the subscription tool in the footer. If you don’t have a footer either, then work out a way to incorporate your subscription tool into every post. DON’T make your readers go hunting for it.